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Ketchikan Travel Guide

A jewel of the temperate coastline of southeast Alaska is the city of Ketchikan, the southernmost city of any size and the first port of call for cruise lines navigating the Inside Passage. Spilling down the flanks of the mountains to the edge of the Inside Passage, Ketchikan sits on Revillagigedo Island and was once the site of a Tongass and Cape Fox Tlingit Indian fishing village. Ketchikan comes from the word "Kitschk-hin". Its translation is unclear, but guesses at its meaning vary from the simple "the river belonging to Kitschk" to the romantic "Thundering Wings of an Eagle." Ketchikan's outstanding collection of totem poles and native art speaks of its native heritage.

Ketchikan is proudly known as the "Salmon Capital of the World" and plays host to several large salmon fishing tournaments each year. In 1883, a salmon saltery was built along the banks of Ketchikan Creek. By 1900, with a saltery, a general store and a cannery, Ketchikan was officially incorporated. Mining began in the area soon after, with more than two-thirds of those wages ending up in area saloons and bordellos. Mining eventually declined and logging operations began in the area. Ketchikan Spruce Mills was established supplying thousands of jobs to the area. Now, logging is declining and tourism has become one of the main stays of the economy.

The over 7,000 year-round residents of Ketchikan measure their rainfall in feet - over fifteen feet - rather than inches, giving Ketchikan the reputation of the rainiest place in Alaska. But rain doesn't dismay the more than 800,000 cruise ship passengers that visited Ketchikan in 2007. Thirty-six ships from ten different cruise lines docked in Ketchikan's port last year, sometimes as many as six per day, to take advantage of the city's unique history, beautiful location, mild climate and shopping district.

Infamous Creek Street was once the heart of Ketchikan's red light district and home to a thriving collection of brothels that catered to loggers, cannery workers and fishermen. Perched on piling over the water, these same buildings now house brightly painted shops and boutiques with a variety of Alaskan and native arts and crafts. Considered the center of the shopping district, Creek Street offers a large selection of souvenirs from velvet scarves to hand carved totems.

Other Locations of Interest Nearby:

KETCHIKAN QUICK FACTS

Population: 7,300
Annual Rainfall: 152 inches
Average July Temperature: 65 degrees

KETCHIKAN VISITOR INFORMATION

Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
Address: 111 Stedman St. #210 Phone: (907) 225-3184

Visitor's Bureau
Address:
131 Front Street Phone: (800) 770-3300

City of Ketchikan
Address: 334 Front St. Phone: (907) 225-3111

READ UP ON KETCHIKAN

Ketchikan Daily News
Address: 501 Dock St. Phone: (907) 225-3157

In 2006, 36 cruise ships carrying more than 830,000 passengers made 503 stops in Ketchikan.

KETCHIKAN SIGHTSEEING

Totem Bight State Historical Park
Address: 9883 N. Tongass Hwy. Phone: (907) 247-8574

Totem Heritage Center
Address: 601 Deermount St. Phone: (907) 225-5900

Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park
Address: 2.5 miles S. of town Phone: (907) 225-4846

Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery & Eagle Center
Address: 1158 Salmon Rd. Phone: (907) 228-5530 / (800) 252-5158

Tongass Historical Museum
Address: 629 Dock St. Phone: (907) 225-5600

Creek Street

KETCHIKAN HOTELS AND OTHER LODGING

Best Western Landing
Address: 3434 Tongass Ave. Phone: (907) 225-5166 / (800) 428-8304

Cape Fox Lodge
Address: 800 Venetia Way Phone: (907) 225-8001 / (800) 325-4000

Salmon Falls Lodge
Address: PO Box 5700 Phone: (800) 247-9059

Black Bear Inn
Address: 5528 N. Tongass Hwy. Phone: (907) 225-4343

The Narrows Inn
Address: 4871 N. Tongass Hwy. Phone: (907) 247-2600 / (888) 686-2600

Captain's Quarters B & B
Address: 325 Lund St. Phone: (907) 225-4912

Eagle Heights B & B
Address: 1626 Water St. Phone: (907) 225-1760 / (800) 928-3308

New York Hotel/The Inn at Creek Street
Address: 207 Stedman St. Phone: (907) 225-0246 / (866) 225-0246

Ketchikan has the highest zip code in the United States for post office boxes - 99950.

KETCHIKAN FOOD AND DRINK

Dai Sho Gun
Address: 1287 Tongass Ave. Phone: (907) 225-2202

Eagles Club / Halibut Hole
Address: 7 Creek St. Phone: (907) 225-5162

The Alaskan Fish House
Address: 3 Salmon Landing Phone: (907) 225-4055

Bar Harbor Restaurant
Address: 2813 Tongass Ave. Phone: (907) 225-2813

Burger Queen
Address: 518 Water St. Phone: (907) 225-6060

Diaz Cafe
Address: 335 Stedman St. Phone: (907) 225-2257

Good Fortune Chinese Restaurant
Address: 4 Creek St. Phone: (907) 225-1818

Ocean View Restaurante
Address: 1831 Tongass Ave. Phone: (907) 225-7566

INTERNET ACCESS

Ketchikan Public Library
Address:
629 Dock St. Phone: (907) 225-3331

Surf City Internet Cafe
Address: 425 Water St. Phone: (907) 225-5475

The Edge (coffee shop)
Address: 5 Salmon Landing, #16 Phone: (907) 225-1465

Seaside Trading
Address: 605 Mission St. Phone: (907) 225-3474

KETCHIKAN TRANSPORTATION

Sourdough Cab - (907) 225-5544
Alaska Cab - (907) 225-2133
Tongass Water Taxi - (907) 225-8294
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Bus - (907) 225-8726

AUTO RENTALS

Alaska Car Rental
Phone: (907) 225-5000 / (800) 662-0007

KETCHIKAN AIRPORT

Ketchikan International Airport
Address: Across Tongass Narrows opposite the downtown area. A ferry shuttles passengers between the airport and the ferry terminal.
Phone: (907) 465-1786

Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing northwest totem poles?

FISH AND GAME

Alaska Fish & Game Department
Address: 2030 Sea Level Dr. #205 Phone: (907) 225-2859

FOREST SERVICE

Tongass National Forest
Address: Federal Building, 648 Mission St. Phone: (907) 225-3101

HOSPITAL

Ketchikan General Hospital
Address: 3100 Tongass Ave. Phone: (907) 225-5171

 

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